City OKs Purchase of Temperature Checking Devices

Since the coming of the COVID-19 pandemic, temperature checks for visitors entering public buildings have become more and more commonplace. This generally involves an employee scanning the forehead of each person with an infrared instant-read thermometer, which brings the worker in contact with many others.

As such, alternative measures have been sought.

When it comes to the multiple buildings owned and operated by the City of Athens, temperature checks will soon be more automatic and less personal, thanks to the purchase of TempSafe's Temperature Measurement and Face Recognition Terminals by the City Council during Monday's meeting.

The measure was approved unanimously by Council members Wayne Harper, Frank Travis and Dana Henry. Councilmen Harold Wales and Chris Seibert could not attend the meeting.

According to Customer Relations Manager Amy Golden, the new devices will be placed at the Athens Recreation Center, the customer accounts office and two at City Hall, one at the front entrance and one at the Council room for meetings.

“It is for public safety and the safety of our employees,” Golden said. “We will set them up, and when people come in, we will have someone checking to make sure we have a clear light. We will have it connected to a computer, so we can see whether they have a temperature or not. If they do, that will be pulled up on our computer.”

The idea behind the temperature checks is to prevent individuals actively running a fever, and therefore sick and potentially carrying the coronavirus, from entering public buildings and spreading the disease.

The Council borrowed one of the devices ahead of its Dec. 14 meeting to test how well it worked. Golden was forced to manually check visitors' temperatures during Monday's meeting with an instant-read thermometer. She said she volunteered because she has already had COVID-19 earlier this year.

“I think (these devices) will reduce the stress on manpower having to find someone to check the temperatures,” she said. “I think it's going to be something going forward that will become commonplace in our society, unfortunately. But it will help us accurately gauge the comings and goings of people with or without a temperature.”

While reading the resolution to purchase the devices, Henry said the funds used to purchase them will be submitted for reimbursement through the CARES Act.